While lower gasoline prices have been widely felt, some states still have prices well above the national average. In California, which has high gasoline taxes and stringent emissions standards that raise the cost of refining, the average price for regular gasoline was $4.62 a gallon on Thursday, against $6.44 in June. In several southern and midwestern states, however, prices are below $3 a gallon, mainly because they have minimum gasoline taxes, if any, and demand is lower in rural areas. , according Devin Gladden, a spokesperson for the AAA.
World oil prices account for more than half the cost of gasoline. Prices for West Texas Intermediate crude and Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell more than 20 percent since late August, as China’s Covid-19 lockdowns reduced demand.
AAA expects gasoline prices to continue falling through the end of the month, Gladden said, in part because gasoline blended for winter has fewer environmental restrictions, which makes it cheaper to produce.
But gasoline prices in the United States frequently fall in December before rising again in January. And factors outside the United States – including the war in Ukraine and the slowing global economy – make the outlook for the new year uncertain.
“We just have to continue to watch oil prices as they remain volatile and as we saw in the spring, if oil prices climb to $100 a barrel, gas prices will follow,” he said. . “Much will depend on how the geopolitical tension continues to unfold through the winter.”
A further easing of pandemic restrictions in China, for example, could lead to an increase in demand that will drive up oil prices. The Chinese government on Wednesday relaxed some of its rules after protests against its “zero Covid” policy.
“The stage is set for a spike in oil prices,” said Bryan Benoit, US national managing partner for energy at the accounting firm Grant Thornton.
Clifford Krauss contributed report.